This is a guest post written by Christine Anderson, research librarian of Commonwealth Studies and Latin American Studies, and Mura Ghosh, research librarian of US Studies and Social Sciences, both ofSenate House Library. Christine can answer all your questions on Canadian Studies resources from 10:00-12:00 and Mura will be providing advice on building your bibliography and keeping it up to date from 10:00-12:00 at History Day on 27 November.
Senate House Library has some of the largest holdings in this various North American studies in the UK. Shelved together as an area studies collection, it covers all the subjects within this geographical scope. The US Studies Collection is located in close proximity to the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Collection and the Commonwealth Studies Collection (including Canadian Studies), providing an outstanding research resource on the Americas. The convenience of the area studies open access arrangement is unique to our library and particularly attractive to an inter-disciplinary research community.
The US Studies research-level holdings offer a broad interdisciplinary coverage of the history, institutions and culture of the United States. The book collection has particular strengths in history and literature. Amongst literary titles, notable are the excellent holdings of definitive editions of major authors, especially of the 19th century, accompanied by extensive collections of criticism. All periods and many minor authors are also represented, the number of authors currently exceeding 1,200. American art history coverage is one of the strongest within the UK university library sector. Other subjects covered include Native and African American studies, politics and government, economics, sociology, religion, film, fine and performing arts. There are extensive holdings of statesmen’s papers, long runs of series such as Foreign Relations of the United States, and other printed document collections. The extensive reference section includes bibliographies, directories and encyclopedias, and an exceptional range of biographical reference works.
The value of our North American Collections is further enhanced by related holdings in other parts of the Library, especially the unusually strong holdings of relevant journals in all fields, but particularly in literature, in current affairs and in history, where the collection of regional and state historical journals is the best in the UK.
Canadian material can be found in in the Commonwealth Studies Collection. Historically, Canada was part of the British Empire. It played a major role in WW1 and WW2, and is now a leading member of the Commonwealth. Canada remains a major element of the Commonwealth Studies Collection collection, with accessions continuing to average nearly one tenth of the Library total. The timeframe extends back to the end of French rule (and earlier in the case of Quebec), though the period to 1867 is covered in far less depth than the post-Confederation period. The subject material broadly covers History and the Social Sciences, including material on indigenous peoples and issues. Our Canadian holdings are reinforced by the Canadian High Commission Library, which was donated to the Library in 1993. Anglophone and Francophone Canadian literature is to be found in the Romance Languages and English Literature collections.
The Commonwealth Studies collections are rich in archival and special collections materials, and these can be consulted in the Special Collections reading room. SHL Special Collections have considerable strengths in U.S. material. The Goldsmiths Library of Economic Literature contains many early works on American economics and politics, slavery and abolitionism as well as early travel accounts. Other SHL Special Collections containing US material or US – related material include the Ron Heisler Collection, Sterling Library, Durning Lawrence Library, the Porteus Library, John Burns Collection, the Harry Price Library of Magical Literature, and the Eliot-Phelips Collection, among others. The earliest items from these collections date from c. 1625.
If you have further questions, stop by the Senate House Library stand on the 27th of November 2015!